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Not enough exercise for children

13th September 2007

A study carried out among young people in England has shown that only one in 40 of 11-year-olds meet the national target of an hour of physical exercise a day.

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Researchers from the University of Bath looked at 5,595 children and found that 95% of boys and 99.6% of girls fell short of this target. It also revealed that the situation has got significantly worse since the last Health Survey of England in 2002 which suggested that 77% of boys and 64% of girls were meeting the standard at the age of 11.

The team’s report, the Archives of Disease in Childhood, comes after a warning that the NHS must do more to counter obesity. A report drawn up for the King’s Fund suggested that the rising rate of obesity, and the associated extra costs of healthcare for those affected by it, posed a greater risk to the future of the NHS than had been previously suggested.

The University of Bath study focused on children from the greater Bristol area who have been monitored since birth by scientists seeking to unravel links between lifestyle and illness. They were fitted with an “accelerometer? for a week, which measured precisely how they move, and detected moderate or strenuous exercise.

It revealed that the children averaged just 17 minutes of moderate exercise, and two minutes of “vigorous? exercise a day.

Researcher Calum Mattocks said they were surprised to find so few children managing an hour of physical activity over the course of a day.

 

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